"THE FUTURE AIN'T WHAT IT USED TO BE"
Clay Buchholz pitches a gem
July 4, 2015 ... As
soon as Pablo Sandoval popped to shortstop and the Red Sox offense
was done piling on a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning of
Saturday's 6-1 win over the Astros, Clay Buchholz was the first
person to spring out of the Sox dugout. He had eight scoreless
innings under his belt, but there was still a spring in his step as
he skipped over the foul line toward the mound looking for three more
hadn't come out for the ninth inning since last August, but the way he had
buzzed through the Houston lineup, manager John Farrell didn't have any reason
to reach into his bullpen. The scoreboard in center field had Buchholz's pitch
count at 92 and all but 25 of them were strikes. The numbers were more than
enough for Farrell to give Buchholz his blessing on chasing a complete game.
It was still
within reach after Jose Altuve started the inning with single through the left
side and a fastball went wild on Buchholz, allowing Altuve to move into scoring
position. He got a fly out by Preston Tucker and a ground out from Carlos
Correa, then threw Luis Valbuena into an 0-and-2 hole with two heaters. After
Valbuena fouled off a changeup, Buchholz thought he had frozen Valbuena on a
cutter away, but the pitch was too far off the plate for umpire Chris Guccione
to give him the strike call. Two pitches later, Valbuena stroked a line drive
into center field for a single that plated Altuve and spoiled what would've been
Buchholz's seventh career shutout. But Buchholz got Evan Gattis to fly to right
to tie a bow on nine razor-sharp innings. Buchholz left the mound with his ninth
career complete game and added another dominant start to the run he's been on
for the past month.
gave Buchholz runs to work with early with Xander Bogaerts (2 for 4, two RBIs)
driving in a run with a single in the first inning and Mookie Betts (2 for 3,
three RBIs) plating another with a sacrifice fly in the second.
pitched at least seven innings in each of his previous three starts and he knew
the Sox needed all the innings he could give them. He sat down 15 of the first
16 batters he faced, realizing early on that every pitch in his arsenal was at
his disposal. He had the Astros waving at his curveball (18 pitches, 13 strikes)
and chasing after his changeup (21 pitches, 14 strikes, five whiffs). The Astros
went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position. Aside from Altuve in the ninth,
the only runners who did reach were either left stranded (four LOB) or doubled
hadn't gone the full nine innings at Fenway sine June 2012 when he tossed a
four-hit shutout against the Orioles. He became the first Sox pitcher to throw a
complete game on Independence Day since Paul Quantrill in 1993 and the first to
do it at Fenway since Mike Torrez in 1979.